Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of people asking me if Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz — and, as we found out yesterday, perhaps also Alexander Guerrero — might be someone the Dodgers were interested in. So I figured I’d fill up what looked to be a slow day with a look at Diaz and if the Dodgers might be in on him, and… ohhh, someone unplugged the news spigot.
* Finally, progress on the television deal.
Scott Soshnick at Bloomberg broke the news this morning:
Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) has struck a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers to broadcast the Major League Baseball team’s games, two people familiar with the matter said.
An announcement of the agreement is imminent, although no deal has been signed, said the people, who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. The games will be carried on a new regional sports network developed by Guggenheim Partners, which bought the Dodgers for $2.15 billion last year. As a partner in the project, Time Warner Cable will run the network and sell the advertisements, although it won’t own the television rights outright, the people said.
We’ll have much more on this when we get more details, and the deal is reportedly on schedule to be finalized on Thursday. Bill Shaikin of the LA Times indicates that the deal could be between $7 billion & $8 billion, which is simultaneously mindblowing and hilarious when you remember what the reaction was when we thought it was going to be a mere $6 billion. No word yet on what this means for the KCAL broadcasts on free TV, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on that. Much, much more to come on this story as we drool at the idea of a Dodger-branded TV station that has team-related programming even when games aren’t on..
Okay, one more thing for now: Hey, remember when Nikki Finke breathlessly exclaimed that Fox was definitely keeping the rights? Nah, me neither.
* Welcome back, Sandy Koufax!
Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax has returned to the club as special advisor to chairman Mark Walter. Koufax will spend a portion of Spring Training working with the club’s pitchers at Camelback Ranch-Glendale and consult during the season.
“I’m delighted to be back with the Dodgers,” Koufax said. “I’m looking forward to spending time with the team during Spring Training and to contributing in any way I can to help make the team a success for the fans of Los Angeles. Some of my most cherished memories came at Dodger Stadium.”
Koufax very publicly broke off contact with the team in 2003 in response to a gossip piece published in the New York Post — hat tip to David Vassegh on that link — who, like the Dodgers, were owned by News Corp, though he softened somewhat during the McCourt years. I cannot imagine that this story coming out on the same day we learn that Fox isn’t keeping the rights is a total coincidence, though I’m also sure he’s been a target of new ownership for a while.
I have to say, so far the Guggenheimers are checking everything off the “win fans back” list. Spend a bunch of money on high-priced talent? Check. Renovate an aging stadium? Check. Get team legends back in the fold? Check.
So, is it working?
Kasten says #Dodgers season tix up from 17,000 last year to 26,000 or 27,000 this year.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) January 22, 2013
It just might be.